Lights From An Airplane Window

I’m sitting on a airplane above Dallas. It’s sunset and below in the misty sea of landscape, I can see patches of brown fields and green swaths of trees.

Flickr image by mbshane

Occasionally, I catch the glint of lights from buildings. In the rural landscape, a single point of yellow will stand out brightly.

I imagine the light is from a home. A solitary beacon to someone returning from a long day at work.

As we approach the city, I see more lights flickering. Rows and arteries of yellow. Dots of red.

And soon the ground below is crawling with webs of colors, some are casting shadowy glows on the roads they line while others are bright points sailing down rivers of highway.

Seeing all these illuminations makes me realize how insignificant each one seems from so far away. Across the world, zillions of these tiny orbs represent everything from skyscrapers to distant outposts.

But the lights also remind me of a faraway one I cannot yet see.

The warm glow is still hundreds of miles away. And in the sea of lights surrounding it, the lights of my Oklahoma home are relatively hidden from the rest of the world.

But shining through the windows are the doings of my family:

A beautiful, browned haired wife and mother illuminated by the light of a laptop as she checks my flight status.

A teenage daughter’s face reflecting the glow of an IPod touch.

My second daughter in pig-tails reading by her bedside lamplight.

A curly headed eleven year-old chattering to her younger brother while he brushes his teeth by the dazzle of the bathroom mirror.

While the rest of the world is focused on their own lights, my thoughts are on those of home.

Another Story Of Light
One day, when I was a teenager, I set off for a hike in the acreage behind our West Tennessee home. I tromped through leaf covered trails and into fields of sage brush.

As dusk fell, I turned back north and pushed myself through tall brush. It was early winter, and as the sun dropped behind the westward pines, the temperature began to plunge.

I found myself moving faster, trying to stay warm, and feeling disoriented by the change in light. Before long, I was doubting my sense of direction.

I had never been lost before, and the suggestion began to haunt me as the darkness deepened.

Just then I caught the hint of light through tree branches ahead, and as I walked forward, I saw a welcoming orange glow. It was a solitary first floor window of our house.

I had looked at our house almost all my life, but I had never before so appreciated the warmth of the light beckoning me home.

Where Is Your Light?
I don’t know where home is for you.

But when I think about how my heart longs for my family, I am reminded of what C.S. Lewis once said about how the beauties of this world are shadows of the truer beauty we all long for.

And I am reminded of the words in scripture, where Jesus said, “For I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

Wherever home is for you, my hope is that you find great joy in reaching it.

Even more importantly, I pray you find what all hearts yearn for most: satisfaction in being accepted by the One who is calling us all home.

Now It’s Your Turn
Taking care of others also means taking care of your most meaningful priorities. When you take away all the distractions of busy-ness, where are you finding satisfaction that lasts?

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker